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Color of Money: October is a spooky month for cybersecurity awareness

Michelle Singletary on

One reader wrote: "I am hesitant to do this by mail because of all the information that will be sent. Is this something I should worry about?"

David Blumberg, senior director of public relations for TransUnion answered: "Mail received by TransUnion is processed through our contact center in a secure facility that is accessible only to employees specially trained to handle inbound consumer mail. This mail is digitally imaged, and the hard copies are destroyed within 10 days via secure, onsite shredding and document destruction. After a freeze is processed, we send the consumer written correspondence via the USPS to confirm the freeze and provide a PIN the individual can use to temporarily lift or permanently remove the file in the future."

An Equifax spokesperson didn't clarify what protections the company takes when people mail in their documents.

Michael Troncale, senior manager for public relations for Experian said: "When we are unable to sufficiently match identification online or by telephone, we request additional documentation in order to verify the individual's identity. We do so as an additional precaution in an effort to protect the consumer."

As scary as it may be to send your information in the mail given the severity of recent breaches, you may have no other choice if you want a freeze. You can take extra precautions by sending your documentation via certified mail or by FedEx, Troncale said.

Some people have asked me: Does one freeze work for all the bureaus? Unfortunately, the answer is no. To get full protection, you need to put on a freeze at all three credit bureaus, including a fourth smaller one, Innovis.

These are some spooky times. For additional tips and resources, go to staysafeonline.org.

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Readers can write to Michelle Singletary c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Follow her on Twitter (@SingletaryM) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/MichelleSingletary). Comments and questions are welcome, but due to the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible. Please also note comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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